Iimbovane keeps inspiring young biodiversity enthusiasts Print

Another school holiday means another Iimbovane workshop! In the first week of October, 19 learners from six Western Cape schools were invited to spend part of the October school holiday camping amongst the pines with the Iimbovane team.

An important part of science is communicating your research. Iimbovane makes a point of highlighting this, with each group presenting their work after each study conducted, as well as a formal scientific presentation at the end of the week. On the first day of the workshop, we took science communication a step further, and introduced the use of song to communicate science. The group welcomed the challenge with enthusiasm and impressed us with their compilations.


The grand display of the fynbos dressed-up in its “spring jewellery”, at Helderberg Nature Reserve, provided an ideal introduction to plant diversity.  After a walk through the mountain fynbos, our learners took a closer look at the variety of plants that Helderberg had, while learning basic vegetation sampling techniques and biodiversity metrics.


A windy Wednesday took us to the shores of Cape Town, where our learners investigated the impact of the invasive Mediterranean mussel. The outcome of this was really positive –we were excited to see a few students starting to look at the bigger picture, and agreeing that this invasion provided an opportunity for a business venture – a seafood restaurant!

The final day of the workshop tied together all lessons that our learners received throughout the week – biodiversity studies and basic Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint practical’s. Learners presented one of the studies they had done in the week, in groups, to a panel of three judges (a post-doc, PhD student and a science communication expert).

Reluctant good-byes took the learners home after a fulfilling and educational week.

We would like to thank Mountain Breeze Resort for accommodating us, as well as all our service providers (KwikSPAR, Paarl Rock Tours, Bettina Shuttles, Shuttle Up, SPUR, Nca’Kos) for their efficient service. A special thank you to the Rand Merchant Fund Environment Programme for their continuous support of the Iimbovane Outreach project.